State of Washington et al v. Russell Vought et al

Filing 45

ORDER granting Plaintiff's 15 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; granting Korematsu Center's 25 Motion for Leave to File. Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from selling the Archives facility pursuant to duties established by FASTA and from taking any actions to facilitate or effectuate a sale of the Archives facility under FASTA until a final determination on the merits is issued by this Court. Signed by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour.(MW)

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Case 2:21-cv-00002-JCC Document 45 Filed 02/16/21 Page 1 of 3 THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., 10 Plaintiffs, ORDER v. 11 12 CASE NO. C21-0002-JCC ROB FAIRWEATHER, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction 16 (Dkt. No. 15) and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality’s (“Korematsu Center”) 17 unopposed motion for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in support of Plaintiffs’ motion (Dkt. 18 No. 25). 1 Having thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the relevant record, and having 19 heard the parties’ oral argument, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion for a preliminary 20 injunction (Dkt. No. 15) and GRANTS the motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief (Dkt. 21 No. 25) for the reasons explained herein. 22 23 24 25 26 1 The Court declines Plaintiffs’ invitation to presently rule on Defendants’ motion to dismiss Counts I–III. (See Dkt. No. 40 at 3 n.1.) Rather, the Court will provide a separate ruling on Defendants’ motion once it is fully briefed and ripe for consideration. Nevertheless, the Court has considered Defendants’ jurisdictional arguments in their briefing to date and during oral argument. Those arguments do not pose an impediment to the Court’s ability to presently rule on Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion. See Shell Offshore Inc. v. Greenpeace, Inc., 864 F. Supp. 2d 839, 842 (D. Alaska 2012), aff’d, 709 F.3d 1281 (9th Cir. 2013). ORDER C21-0002-JCC PAGE - 1 Case 2:21-cv-00002-JCC Document 45 Filed 02/16/21 Page 2 of 3 1 On January 24, 2020, Defendant the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), 2 approved the sale of the Federal Archives and Records Center in Seattle (“Archives facility”) 3 pursuant to the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (“FASTA”), Pub. L. No. 114-287, 4 130 Stat. 1463 (2016). (Dkt. No. 16-1 at 166–67.) According to the Public Buildings Reform 5 Board, which was established by FASTA, the Government intends to “bring the propert[y] to 6 market by early 2021.” (Id. at 169.) Plaintiffs, comprised of State and local governments, tribal 7 governments, Alaska Native Corporations, tribal communities, and historical and cultural 8 organizations, brought suit pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act in an effort to halt the 9 sale. (See Dkt. No. 30.) Plaintiffs assert that FASTA exempts facilities like the Archives from its 10 provisions and that, regardless, Defendants OMB and General Services Administration (“GSA”) 11 failed to follow FASTA’s section 11 procedural requirements in recommending that the Archives 12 facility be sold pursuant to FASTA. (See id. at 69–76.) 13 Plaintiffs now move for a preliminary injunction. (Dkt. No. 15.) They ask the Court to 14 enjoin Defendants from selling the Seattle facility pursuant to Defendants’ FASTA authority 15 until a final determination on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims can be made by the Court. (Id.) 16 Plaintiffs argue that a preliminary injunction is required to ensure that no sale of the property 17 takes place during the pendency of this matter. (Id.) In seeking a preliminary injunction, the 18 moving party must establish “that [it] is likely to succeed on the merits, that [it] is likely to suffer 19 irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in [its] 20 favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” Winter v. Nat’l Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 21 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); see also Drakes Bay Oyster Co. v. Jewell, 747 F.3d 1073, 1085 (9th Cir. 22 2014). In holding that Plaintiffs have established the requisite elements, the Court incorporates 23 Plaintiffs’ proposed factual findings and legal conclusions (See Dkt. No. 37 at 1–14, ¶¶ 1–51; 24 14–27, ¶¶ 1–40.) On this basis, Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED. 25 The Korematsu Center also moves for leave to file an amicus curiae brief in support of 26 Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. (Dkt. No. 25.) The motion is unopposed. District ORDER C21-0002-JCC PAGE - 2 Case 2:21-cv-00002-JCC Document 45 Filed 02/16/21 Page 3 of 3 1 courts have “broad discretion” regarding the appointment of amici and frequently welcome 2 amicus briefs from non-parties “concerning legal issues that have potential ramifications beyond 3 the parties directly involved.” Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1260 (9th Cir. 1982); Skokomish 4 Indian Tribe v. Goldmark, Case No. C13-5071-JLR, Dkt. No. 91 at 1 (W.D. Wash. 2013) 5 (quoting Ryan v. Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n, 125 F.3d 1062, 1064 (7th Cir. 1997)). 6 Moreover, “there is no rule that amici must be totally disinterested.” Funbus Sys., Inc. v. State of 7 Cal. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 801 F.2d 1120, 1125 (9th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted); see Hoptowit, 8 682 F.2d at 1260 (affirming district court’s appointment of amicus curiae even though amicus 9 entirely supported only one party’s arguments). Here, the Korematsu Center’s proposed brief is 10 of assistance to the Court in considering the import of FASTA’s exclusion for properties used in 11 connection with conservation activities. (See generally Dkt. No. 25-1.) Accordingly, the motion 12 is GRANTED. 13 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and the 14 Korematsu Center’s motion for leave to file an amicus brief (Dkt. Nos. 15, 25) are GRANTED. 15 Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active 16 concert or participation with them are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from selling the Archives 17 facility pursuant to duties established by FASTA and from taking any actions to facilitate or 18 effectuate a sale of the Archives facility under FASTA until a final determination on the merits is 19 issued by this Court. This preliminary injunction shall remain in effect during the pendency of 20 this case or until further order of the Court. 21 DATED this 16th day of February 2021. A 22 23 24 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 25 26 ORDER C21-0002-JCC PAGE - 3

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